At Embrace Fertility Adelaide, we are often asked about endometriosis and fertility. Our team are well versed in endo and how it affects fertility and are here to help you in your fertility journey.
What is endometriosis?
Not long ago, endometriosis (or “endo”) was not often spoken about, but it is now becoming a much more commonly diagnosed condition and studies have found that 1 in 9 Australian women are diagnosed with the inflammatory condition by the time they reach the age of 44.
Endometriosis is when tissue, similar to the lining of the uterus (womb), grows outside the uterine cavity. The lining layer is called the endometrium and this is the layer of tissue that is shed each month with menstruation (a period) or where a pregnancy settles and grows.
This layer consists of two sublayers:
– a base layer that is always present where the new tissue regenerates after a period
– a surface layer that is shed each menstruation
The effects of endometriosis can be crippling, including extreme pain around or during your period and ovulation, fatigue, pain during or after sex, pain with bowel movements, heavy or irregular periods, issues with bladder control and pain when urinating.
Endometriosis and fertility
Endometriosis can sometimes affect fertility and a women’s ability to become pregnant.
For example, the passage for sperm and eggs through the pelvis can become impaired due to the disease. This is due to the progression of endometriosis and the subsequent pelvic damage which expands to organs, such as the fallopian tubes, through distortion or adhesions.
The pelvic environment also experiences a change that is most likely a result from the endometriosis-related inflammation in that area. The function of both eggs and sperm, and the process of fertilisation, embryo development and implantation can sometimes be impaired by these inflammatory substances and cells.
Increasing evidence is also showing that both the quality and quantity of eggs can be affected, but, this being a direct result of the disease has not been confirmed. While it makes sense that endometriosis within the ovary can have this effect, current evidence is also pointing to a reduction in both egg numbers and quality if the disease is outside of the ovary as well. You can measure your egg quantity, or ovarian reserve, through an AMH (a pelvic ultrasound or blood test) and we can assist with this, simply contact us here.
Current evidence is also suggesting that the uterus in women with endometriosis appears to function differently, compared to women without the disease. This difference includes a reduction in implantation and, potentially, an increased chance of miscarriage for women with endometriosis.
You can learn more about endometrial receptivity and fertility here.
Endometriosis treatments affecting fertility
Both medical and surgical treatments for endometriosis can assist with fertility, especially when you work with our team of doctors at Embrace Fertility.
We can advise you on the best course of action for your fertility treatment, ensuring we take into account your endometriosis condition and your preferences during your fertility journey.
Endometriosis and relationships
Pelvic pain can sometimes lead to painful sex, and this can have a strain on a relationship. Pelvic physio can help with this pain, which can also help you to relax while you are trying to conceive.
Contact us to chat about your fertility options.
Our lead fertility specialist here at Embrace Fertility is Associate Professor Louise Hull. You can learn more about her here.
You can also learn more about other factors that can affect fertility and how our Adelaide fertility doctors can assist here.